Question: What proportion of online shoppers add items to their cart but then don’t complete the checkout process?
The Baymard Institute has averaged the results of a range of studies to produce an answer: more than 67%. This shockingly high figure is largely due to basic usability failings, such as forcing visitors to register just to find out the delivery price for their order.
Here at it’seeze we’re constantly reviewing the latest usability research and improving our e-commerce system. In this post we’ll show how we simplified the first stage of our checkout process to reduce cart abandonment even further.
Before the changes: an all-encompassing form
Before the changes, a visitor clicking the checkout button was greeted with this screen:
Compared to the average online shop, this screen did a lot right. The two forms are clearly labelled, the new customer form emphasises that creating an account is optional (while mentioning the benefits), and existing customers have a clear forgotten password link. However, there’s a lot going on, and every field you add to a form increases the chances of visitors making a mistake or giving up.
After the changes: a simple process
After the changes, a visitor clicking the checkout button is greeted with this screen:
If you’ve shopped on Amazon you’ll have seen a form similar to this, but we’ve simplified it even further. The field to enter your password (and the associated forgotten password link) fades in only once you select the yes radio button. Amazon further clutter their form with notes about Terms And Conditions, while we delay the I agree to the terms and conditions checkbox until the final stage of the checkout. Finally, we explain why we’re asking the visitor for their e-mail address.
New customers then proceed to this screen:
Again, the password field is hidden until the visitor elects to create an account, and we explain why we’re asking the visitor for their telephone number. The visitor can choose whether the password is obscured as they type it – if there’s no danger of someone looking over their shoulder, having the password shown reduces the chances of typing mistakes.
The complexity of simplicity
You might wonder why the checkout process of most online shops is so complicated: wouldn’t it be easier to implement a simpler interface like ours? In fact, the opposite is true: the simpler the interface presented to the user, the more complex the software behind-the-scenes. Every edge case must be handled gracefully and intuitively: what should you do if someone says they’re a new customer, but you already have an account with that e-mail address? When your software can be configured in different ways, the number of possibilities is multiplied accordingly – for example, we have clients who sell only to trade customers and have chosen to require accounts to be approved before the visitor can proceed to checkout. Before implementing these improvements, we sketched out all possible routes through these screens:
We’ll continue working to perfect our checkout processes, giving our clients’ potential customers no excuse not to make their purchase.